THE CAT IN MANNERIST AND RELIGIOUS PAINTINGS

The Cat in Mannerist Paintings Paintings in the Mannerist style, an artistic movement which blossomed from the Renaissance, focused less on naturalistic portrayals.  Hans Baldung, a student of Albrecht Dürer, usually known for his renditions of profane witches, in a later allegorical Mannerist work entitled, Music (1484),   a harmless white cat sits next to […]

THE DOMESTIC CAT IN EARLY MODERN PERIOD ART

THE CAT IN EARLY MODERN PERIOD ART The Renaissance, which ushered in a rebirth of classical thought, first started in Italy and then spread to the whole of Europe.  Renaissance artists such as Bosch, Dürer, Ghirlandaio, DaVinci and many others produced exquisite paintings that included the cat as a symbol of domesticity, fertility-lust, treachery and evil. Most often cats found their […]

DOMESTIC CAT HISTORY IN THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD

BACKGROUND The Early Modern Period (1500-1700), was an era marked by global exploration, the rebirth of classical thought and religious reformation. Christopher Columbus’ ships were the first to sail across the world in 1492, probably carrying cats to kill mice and rats, much as the ancient Phoenician vessels did centuries before on their first voyages around the Mediterranean.  And […]

CATS AND MAGIC

No description of the cat and its involvement with witchcraft is complete without the accompanying examples of it as an essential ingredient for magic.  Cats and magic have been inseparable since Egyptian times. The black cat was especially important, as it was commonly believed that the blood of a black cat when mixed with certain herbs was extremely powerful […]

CATS AND WITCHCRAFT (Part 7- The Witchfinder-Matthew Hopkins)

RUTTERKIN: Some years after Topsell’s book was published, (see last week’s post) the witch trials were still quite common.  The trial of Joan Flower and her two daughters Margaret and Phillipa Flower, also known as the witches of Belvoir, took place in 1618.  Joan and Margaret worked for the Earl and Countess of Rutland at Belvoir Castle until Margaret was […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 13, THE CAT IN STRANGE INVENTIONS)

The Cat in Medieval Inventions: Not only were cats inspirations for paintings, but they also became the models for strange tortuous inventions.  In 1549, a cat organ was made in honor of Philip II of Brussels.  A large bear played the organ that contained up to twenty cats perched in separate compartments.  The parts of […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 7)

Representations of the Cat in Middle Ages Manuscripts, the Moralia of Job and other books.     Other miscellaneous religious books such as the Moralia in Job, written in the latter half of the 12th century, also include portrayals of the cat.  In an initial letter a spotted cat claws a mouse and holds one in its […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 3)

Jews‘ Association with Cats: Often depicted with the heretical symbol of the cat in the Bible Moralisée, the church considered Jews heretics.  In one illustration two clerics devoted to the church read a book and pray, while two bearded men (Jews) shun the church. One of whom holds out a money bag to a seated […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 2)

The Black Cat as the Devil in Christian Sects: The Waldenses Many different Christian sects began to flourish during this time.  One of the first was the Waldenses, founded in 1170 by Peter Waldo.  The Waldenses believed that the individual could communicate directly with God.  This of course threatened the church, as the pope and […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 1)

OVERVIEW HISTORY OF THE CAT Social and religious strife plagued The Middle Ages.  The world  suffered through 9 crusades from 1096 to 1272.  Muslims, Jews and non-believers alike would be the victims of the wrath of the Christian church in its goal to secure its pervasive control over all. “The powerful Christian authority structures of […]

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